Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
The Eagles' DeSean Jackson, right, can hurt the Giants in a pivotal game today.
The Eagles' DeSean Jackson, right, can hurt the Giants in a pivotal game today.
The Eagles' DeSean Jackson, right, can hurt the Giants in a pivotal game today.

Eagles out to slay Giants

The race in the East will be all but over if Philadelphia can make it four in a row against the New York Giants.

The Philadelphia Eagles desperately want to make it four wins in succession when they meet the New York Giants at Giants Stadium today because if they do their opponents' play-off hopes will be all but dead. If the Eagles (8-4) can hold off the slumping Giants (7-5) it would leave New York two games behind them in the NFC East race and Philadelphia in command with three games to play, a not impossible margin to overcome but close to it.

It would also assure the Eagles of no worse than a divisional tie with the Dallas Cowboys (8-4), who must try to keep pace by defeating the in-form San Diego Chargers (9-3), who have not lost since October and who have made a habit of winning in December over the past few years - 15 consecutive games, to be precise. That figure is particularly significant because over the past three seasons the Cowboys have proved that December is not their time of year.

Dallas head coach Wade Phillips is 30-14 in regular season games since 2007, second only to the Patriots' Bill Belichick, but his team are a dismal 3-6 in December in those years and 0-1 in the play-offs. The numbers are just as bad for the Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo, who is 5-9 in December, including a loss last Sunday in which he threw for 392 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions and still saw his team beaten by the Giants and forced into a tie with the Eagles in the standings.

While Philadelphia can do nothing to influence what happens in Dallas, they can take care of their own business and damage the Giants' play-off hopes if they continue to play as they have of late. The Eagles have won three straight and destroyed the Giants 40-7 on November 1, a game the Giant's head coach Tom Coughlin has not forgotten and does not want his team to forget. "I think we are well aware of the first game this year," Coughlin said. "We gave up a lot of big plays. We didn't stop the run."

Frankly, they didn't stop anything, a problem with their slumping defence in recent weeks. Last Sunday, Coughlin shook up his starting line-up by inserting Mathais Kiwanuka at defensive end and Jonathan Goff at linebacker. With middle linebacker Antonio Pierce out for the season, the pass rush seemingly blunted and their secondary in tatters, New York will go with those new starters again but will have their hands full containing the Eagles' quarterback Donovan McNabb.

McNabb is completing 61 per cent of his throws and will be aided by the return of the explosive wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who missed last week because of a concussion. Jackson has scored seven times and leads the Eagles with a 17.5 yards-per-catch average. Yet the biggest weapon New York must contend with is tight end Brent Celek, who leads the Eagles in receptions and plays a position that has tormented the Giants' pass defence.

In the past three games, New York's defence have allowed an average of 298 passing yards a game and opponents are converting on nearly half of their third downs, keeping drives alive and a tiring defence on the field. Too much of that damage has been done by opposing tight ends. Yet the Giants still beat the Cowboys last weekend, 31-24, to stay alive in the division race. They did it without running the ball with authority, as it would seem they must against the Eagles, and without stopping Dallas tight end Jason Witten.

Oddly, the Giants' defence is ranked sixth in the NFL in fewest yards allowed but 25th in points allowed, which is really the only statistic that matters in defensive football. sports@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Glenn Maxwell's knock that followed ensured Brendon McCullum's knock went in vain after his explosive half-century took Chennai Super Kings past the 200-mark. Ravindranath K / The National

All is well with Punjab as Maxwell and Miller seal win against Chennai

The Australian missed out on a century but his 95 runs, along with Miller's unbeaten half-century, ensured Kings XI scaled a mighty peak of a target in a hot first game of Abu Dhabi's double-header.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet protests during the Premier League match against Crystal Palace at The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, northeast England, on March 15, 2014. Ian MacNicol / AFP

Sunderland going out of Premier League with a grumble

Northeast club have underwhelmed during seven-year stay in the top flight

 Hamburg players leave the field after the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach on March 30, 2014. AFP

Hamburg the dinosaur’s time may be up in Bundesliga

Ever-present for 51 years in the German top-flight, Hamburg face the prospect of relegation, writes Ian Hawkey.

 At 105 kg, Gabrielle Garcia has dominated the world circuit and loves many things about being in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Garcia seeks fresh challenge in MMA after her jiu-jitsu domination

Brazilian prides being a lioness in the sport but feels she can shed 25kg weight to pursue her MMA debut aspirations.

 England's Jonathan Trott hits out during the ICC Champions Trophy semi final match against South Africa at The Oval cricket ground, London June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Philip Brown

England’s Jonathan Trott sidelined with stress-related illness again

Jonathan Trott is to take a second break from professional cricket because of his stress-related illness as England and Wales Cricket Board and Warwickshire confirmed he will stop playing with immediate effect.

 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

‘That’s why we are a top club’ says Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho’s men will temporarily claim the Premier League top spot if they beat Sunderland, leaving them in control of their own destiny in the title race ahead of a crucial trip to face Liverpool at Anfield on April 27.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National